NIGERIA will be the largest exporter of urea in Africa, by 2017. Aliko Dangote, president, Dangote Group, at an interactive session between members of the organised private sector and Godwin Emefiele, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on recent developments in the global oil prices and its effect on Nigeria’s foreign exchange market said plans to make Nigeria the biggest exporter of urea in Africa by 2017 are in the pipeline. He urged members of the private sector to support government’s efforts in diversifying the economy.
According to him, the development in the global oil market creates an opportunity to refocus the Nigerian economy. “It is just an opportunity for us to sit down and talk to ourselves about how to diversify the economy and encourage more exports because that is the way we should be going instead of going to the Central Bank of Nigeria every day to buy forex. By 2020, the population of this country is going to be 210 million and are we going to continue to be importing then? Can we afford to be importing then for such a huge population? A lot of people want to wake up and see the external reserves would just be increasing, but is not going to be easy because revenue has gone down by 55 percent,” he said.
While responding to an earlier statement by the CBN governor that sugar is one of the items importers always seek forex to import, Dangote said: “I can assure you that in the next four years, you will not allocate forex for sugar importation. We should support the economy by improving its productive capacity. Based on our plans, we would be the highest seller of foreign exchange by the first 2018. Our plan now is to start exporting most of our other products.”
The top 10 Urea exporting countries account for 70 percent of global trade with China as the largest supplier. Urea, white crystalline solid containing 46 percent nitrogen, is widely used in the agricultural industry as an animal feed additive and fertilizer.
NIM Urges FG to Emphasise Job Creation
THE Nigerian Institute of Management, NIM, has said that Nigeria’s quest for economic development would remain a mirage unless the federal government places emphasis on creating jobs for the youths in the country. At the NIM Business Roundtable in Lagos, Nelson Uwaga, president/chairman of council, NIM, explained that focusing on job creation for the youths would help bring about improvement in the country’s security and ensure the country’s economic development.
“After all the politics, one thing that will stand out is the problems facing this country. One of such is the problem of rising unemployment. It is believed that creating more jobs for the youths will bring about improved security and national development.”
Similarly, Christopher Kolade, former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, emphasised the importance of empowering the youth of the country, making them useful and making it possible for them to contribute to the development of the country.
According to him, the rhetoric of development is empty without the resources to bring the vision to reality. “Youths have an advantage, they are at the peak of their energy and they are in the best position to drive the country’s development. It is only people empowered to think and showcase entrepreneurial acumen that will be in the position to drive development.”
Kolade queried the adequacy of the content and direction of the country’s educational system and the scale of reward after education, stating that education used to be the country’s main way of empowering people. He said the country’s educational system is not helping young people to make the right, adding that, “we need to ask ourselves if there is something that will make our graduates innovative.” He called on the NIM to play a leadership role in helping the country have a deeper thought on how human resources can be managed, especially in the area of youth empowerment and development.
Also, Olatunji Olaniyi, former senior advisor/permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Africa Business Roundtable, said the country must have clear objectives in developing youth entrepreneurship programmes, which must be followed judiciously.
According to him, developing the youths is critical and is also the hope of the country, adding that the only way the country can grow is to build the capacity of the youths and give them the necessary exposure. He advised youths in the country not to be always concerned about accessing funding, but should instead focus on growing whatever capital they have through innovation and sacrifice.
FG to N10b Annually from e-Commerce
AS Nigeria prepares to switch to digitalisation later this year, the federal government is targeting to generate more than $10 billion annually from the country’s electronic commerce market. Omobola Johnson, minister of communication technology, said the industry has the potential to grow the economy of the country. She said the federal government has equally raised a venture capital fund of about $16.2 million and ready to disburse it to qualified youths with innovative ideas within the information and communications technology sector.
She said the funds were to drive the growth of software development in Nigeria. Johnson specking at the early morning Small and Medium Enterprises programme on Inspiration FM, sponsored by Fidelity Bank, said it had been discovered that software development was a big market for Nigeria, but yet to be fully explored.
“We are doing everything possible through initiatives, including IdeasLab; Techlaunch Pad, among others, to develop that sub-sector. Government has recently launched the venture capital initiative, which has been seeded and we were able to raise about $16.2 million and we are ready to make our first investment and these companies (start-ups) can participate. They can obtain venture fund here, but it is not only companies from the IdeasLab, and any viable start-up that can actually apply and if they meet the requirement, they will get funding,” she said.
According to the minister, the initiatives were also part of the plans to drive local content, adding that since the creation of the Ministry of Communications Technology in 2011, more local firms have been encouraged to participate in the development of the Nigerian economy. “In the process, we have discovered that only small proportions of indigenous firms were playing in such a big market as the country’s ICT sector, so we decided that we must create huge opportunities for investors. So, we spotted software development and since then we have been driving traffic towards that area. IdeasLab is a platform to develop software; it is an incubator and accelerator platform supports young Nigerians developing applications. Any viable start-up can apply. The plan is to take the idea from the concept (crude) to realisation and exposure for viability.”
— Feb. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT